Fruit cake jokes are a dime a dozen around this time in the syndicated cartoon strips and growing up I didn't really get the humour, since I loved fruit cakes and the home baked ones I did get to have were delicious!
When I started making them though, the "hard as rock" and "don't drop it on your foot" jokes really scared me - what if mine turned out like that!
I needn't have worried; I discovered that baking fruit cakes is easier than the usual cakes since they are heavier and are not expected to rise as much. So no "gently folding in the flour into the beaten eggs" and "no beating the eggs for eternity"......the ingredients are mostly brought together and combined with a light hand.
The only thing to take care of is that, since this is a dense cake, it is better to bake it a lower temperature for a longer time.
And as for the dried fruits - well, that's the best part - you can pretty much use your favourites and leave out what you don't like! It's even better if you can manage to soak the fruits in some good alcohol about 3-4 weeks in advance, and the cake tends to moisten up because of the fruits in it and tastes really good the more time it is kept.
This recipe was given to me by a dear friend of mine in England - we have never met but our online correspondence over the past 6 years has brought us closer than we would have ever imagined. She is a wise warm and caring woman and I hope to meet her some day.
The first time I made this was for a close friend - Christmas was always at her place but that year she was in her last trimester of pregnancy and I thought she could do with some Christmas cheer.
This year I made it for her again - we land up at her place on Christmas Day next week and will be staying with them for a bit. So as they celebrate their first Christmas with their baby, this cake will bring with it our best wishes for their wee one and a great year ahead.
This is the adapted recipe, the original contained sherry, black treacle and a few other ingredients which I have changed to my taste and availability.
It is a lovely moist cake and the flavours of the dried fruits as well as the cinnamon lingers on and makes this a beautiful way to end a lovely festive meal.
Eggs - 3 plus 1 white
Unsalted Butter - 125 gms
Flour - 125 gms
Soft brown sugar - 125 gms
Mixed Dry Fruit chopped - 350 gms (choose from currants,sultanas,raisins, dates, fig, apricot)
I used equal quantities of currants,raisins, dates,apricots and plums
The dry fruits were soaked 3-4 weeks in advance in about 1/4 cup of dark rum (brandy can also be used)
Rind of half of a lemon or orange -I used orange peel.
Chopped cherries - 30gm
Ground almonds - 30gm (Toasted in the microwave for about 90 seconds and then ground)
Whisky or brandy - 1 tbsp
Golden syrup - 1 tbsp
Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
1. Grease an 8" tin and lightly sprinkle flour on top.Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
2. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat the eggs and white and add to the creamed butter and sugar.
3. Sift the flour and cinnamon powder together and add slowly to the egg mixture and combine with a light hand.
4. Add the whisky and golden syrup to the mixture and then all the dried fruit,orange peel and almond powder. Mix well; the cake batter will be quite thick.
5.Turn the batter into the prepared cake tin and make a small hollow in the centre.
6. Bake at 180 C for about 45-55 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
This cake goes to :
A Fruit a Month - Dry Fruits, hosted by Latha and Lakshmi over at The ‘Yum’ Blog
dear Sunita @ Sunita's World for this month's edition of Think Spice - Cinnamon.